The Suns clearly need the All-Star break to get healthy and refocus to surpass last year’s 21 wins but it appears they will also get to cheer on rookie Deandre Ayton in the 2019 Rising Stars Challenge in mid-February.
Ayton will represent his home nation of the Bahamas as part of the World Team in this year’s game, joining a fantastic, diverse crop of international youngsters in the NBA. Though Ayton went to the University of Arizona and played high school basketball in America, he was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas.
Here are the full rosters for both teams:
Here is the full roster for Team USA vs. Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge. pic.twitter.com/T7DdFc7P3X— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) January 30, 2019
As you can see, Rookie of the Year frontrunner (especially if Ayton remains hampered with an ankle injury) Luka Doncic will join his buddy Ayton on the team as well as last year’s Rookie of the Year, Ben Simmons and Clippers standout Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
On the United States team side, which Devin Booker and Marquese Chriss played for in 2016 and 2017, rookies Marvin Bagley III, Trae Young and Jaren Jackson Jr. join last year’s Rookie of the Year runners up Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum.
The NBA’s talent pool is insane and as it continues to dip into international competition to pluck youngsters and coach them into top form, this game might just surpass the All-Star game in terms of entertainment.